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You need to get auto insurance, renters insurance, as well as personal liability insurance.

Vehicle Insurance

You will need to have car insurance before you are allowed to register your car. You will just receive a note from the insurance company that verifies that they are willing to insure you. After you purchase the car and have registered it with the government you then return to the insurance agency and finish purchasing your insurance. Before coming to Germany talk to your current insurance company about receiving proof of insurance as well as the claims that were made on the account.

Household/ Renters Insurance

Personal Liability Insurance

Pet Liability Insurance

Glass Insurance


AXA is a local insurance company in Kandern where several of the employees speak English.

Dietmar Wyck with Basler
Helped do health insurance, speaks great English, and can do other forms of insurance as well. Very personable. dietmar.wyck@basler.de

Municipal Offices

Rathaus (City Hall)

Vehicle Registration Office (see Automobile Information / Registration)


Specific Housing page



Volksbank is a German bank in Kandern that has a lot of English speaking tellers.


is a German bank in Kandern. 

Post Bank 

is another bank option within Kandern.

International Transfers

Autom​obile Information

Before you can register your car with the government you need to have proof that you can get insurance. To do that go to an insurance company and tell them you need automobile insurance and they will provide you with a letter of verification.


Suggested Mechanics

  • Herr Rudi Gross Ford Auto Service. Located at Tannenkircher strasse 2a, Hertingen (just past Riedlingen and Tannenkirch). Herr Gross speaks excellent english, so does his receptionist. Their number is 07635 1845. We got our oil changed and the TUV, very reasonable on their cost.
  • Autohaus Brehm in HolzenTalstraße 4, 79400 Kandern, 07626 7357


A biannual, federally required inspection for vehicles (among other items). Helpful website overview in English: http://www.tuev-sued.de/automotive_en

Both Brehm and Gross offer TÜV services by appointment (see contact info above)

Interne​t and Phones (including Mobile)


They don't own the phone lines in Kandern. I don't know what that means for us.


They do own the phone lines. But, still not the best.

Lidl Prepaid Mobile 

Lidl Mobile prepaid (http://www.lidl.de/de/lidl-mobile/s1201). For smart phones, it is 7.99 Eur per month each. That is the "Smart S" plan that includes 300 minutes/SMS and 300mb of data. Calls/texts to each other and anyone on Lidl is free. For people with dumb phones, the plan is 2.99 Eur per month each. They can call and text each other for free ("Community Flatrate"). All other calls/texts are 9 cents. Also, if you travel some, you can add 150 EU minutes and/or 150 EU MB for 4.99 each that last for 7 days (Switzerland is included). That comes in handy when people travel outside Germany. Online setup and admin is easy. Automatic payment through your bank can be set up too. If anyone wants to do this you can get a 5 Euro bonus by using another in the community as a referral and they'll get 5 Euros too wink emoticon. And if you do more than one phone, refer yourself for a double bonus! Get your SIM card for 9.99 Euro direct at Lidl or order online. A German person switched to this and he was able to keep his old number (it took several weeks to port over though).

T-mobile Prepaid Mobile

T-Mobile prepaid plan (https://www.t-mobile.de/xtra/). For smartphones, it is €10 a month which include 200MB of data and all calls and texts to other TMobile customers are free. Others are €0.10 a minute. With home wifi, local people normally spend a total of €15-20 a month. T-mobile also offers a roaming option which is no extra cost but gives you calls, SMS, and data to/from other countries at reduced rates depending on the country - see rates here https://www.t-mobile.de/roaming/fuer-prepaidkunden/. Online setup and admin available.


Medical Directory for the area

Where to purchase medical products

Legal Documents​


When you first arrive in Germany you need to register at the town center. You will do it at the Kandern Rathaus.

  • Telefonzentrale: 07626 899-0
  • Öffnungszeiten: Montag - Freitag: 8.00 - 12.00 Uhr
  • Donnerstag: 14.15 - 18.00 Uhr

Drivers License (Führerschein)

Here is a list of areas in the US that have reciprocity with the EU. If you have a current drivers license from these areas you can easily get a German drivers license. If you don't you will need to pass a drivers test.​ The whole process can cost a lot of money. If it is possible to get a drivers license from another state that does have resprocity it is probably worth it.

Probationary Licenses

When applying for a German drivers license, you will need to be able to prove you have had a drivers license for more than one year.  If you are unable to prove this, likely because your license was renewed within the last year, you will be issued a probationary German license.  While driving on a probationary license, the consequences of moving vehicle violations are increased.  Probationary licenses revert to standard licenses one year after your last American license was issued (eg. Staff arrives with Illinois license issued on April 1, 2018, the German probationary license period will last until April 1, 2019).  

International Driving Permit (Internationaler Führerschein)

If you have a German driving license and plan to drive in a country outside of the EU, you may need an International Driving Permit (especially if you plan to rent a car).  The International Driving Permit is basically a translation of your driving license, so you must always use it WITH your German driving license. An Internationaler Führerschein can be obtained from the Landkreis in Loerrach for 15 Euros.  Bring your passport, German driving license and a passport photo. The Internationaler Führerschein is good for three years from the date of issue. 

American Passport Renewal

Adding pages is much easier to do than getting a new passport.

There is a US embassy in Bern, SW which is close. There are only morning hours.

One person did their passport renewal in Frankfurt entirely by mail, and I believe it took about two weeks. They require you to provide your own self-addressed pre-paid envelope to mail it back to you. I got the one at the post that came with a tracking number. Not sure what the turnaround time for adding pages would be if you actually went in, though. Here's the info page specifically for adding pages: http://germany.usembassy.gov/mobile/acs/passports-addpages/

Adding Pages to a Passport | United States Diplomatic Mission  germany.usembassy.gov  If your passport is still valid, and in good condition.
Easy to drive to Bern (make appointment online first) and they can do it on the spot. It can be a bit of a wait but can definitely be done in one day. Cost is about $80.

It was still quite easy. We had pre-printed all the forms. She took them, we paid while she typed, then we did the oath and left. It was not bad at all...

If you go to Bern to renew you will have to return to pick up at a later date.  I think they can add pages on the spot, but I am not sure about renew.  I know that they couldn't do my kid's passports on the spot.  If they cannot do it in a day, please know that they will not mail your passport back to Germany.  We had a Swiss friend's address and that was OK, but since it had my name on it, the postman would not leave the package at the home in Basel, so it got sent back to Bern and I had to drive and pick it up.  Two trips to Bern is still faster / shorter / and easier than 1 trip to Frankfurt and so I would head to Bern, but know you may have to return to pick it up.


Here is a quick link that will describe most things.​


Registration at the Rathaus will include registering for trash service. You will be charged 12 pickups a year (once a month). Every pickup after that is an extra charge.

Gelbe Sä​cke

Make sure you put everything in here you can and no more. You can get more bags for free at the Rauthaus. Here is a list of the items that should go in your gelbe säck.


  • tins
  • boxes
  • closures
  • aluminum shells
  • aluminum lid
  • aluminum foils


  • Films: tote bags, bags, wrapping films
  • Bottles: from dish detergent, laundry detergent, and body-care products
  • Cups: milk products, margarine, etc
  • Foams: Fruit and vegetable trays and other foamed packaging


  • Beverage and milk cartons
  • Vacuum packaging

Blue Recycle Bin

You can get a free recycle bin to use for cardboard and paper. Just go to this website and order one. http://www.blauetonne-schlauetonne.de/

They pickup days for our area is listed here: Pickup Calendar

Recylinghof: Opening times recycling Kandern 

Recycling Kandern 
Paper path at yard 
79400 Kandern 

View in Google Maps 
Opening times recycling Kandern 
Di 9-12 clock / Thu 14-17 clock 
Sat 9-12 clock 

Link to Recyclinghof Kandern: http://www.recyclinghofwertstoffhof.de/Loerrach_Kandern.html

We guess: 
Bulky waste 
Unbundled mixed paper 
Variety Pure paper unbundled 
Cardboard packaging 
Hollow glass 
Scrap metal 
Furniture Wood 
Electronic scrap 
Household batteries 
Ink / Toner Cartridges 
Sanitary ware 

Learning German

Important German Phrases

Language Schools

DuoLingo online language learning program: [1]

     Apps are available for free for iOS and Android.

Rosetta Stone German

Make your own ANKI Flash Cards for computer, tablet, and phone: [2


English Churches

German Churches with English Translation

German Churches

French Churches

Bible Studies in English

  • Community Bible Study, Women's Daytime Class, Kandern: Wednesdays 9:30 - 11:30, FeG Kandern, Feuerbacher Str. 29
  • BSF International, Women's Daytime Class, Basel, Switzerland: Tuesdays 9 - 11:30, Altevangelische Taufgesinntengeme-Pestalozzistrasse 4, Muttenz 4132
  • BSF International, Men's Evening Satellite Discussion Group, Rheinfelden, Switzerland: Monday evenings. Contact Markus Olsberg for location and specific time. 


Cooking & Baking in Germany 

How to use unique foods or items; conversions, etc. For where to find items, see Shopping / Foods

Having a Baby

Go to the having a Baby Wiki page







Home Goods

Second Hand Stores

On-line shopping/On-line Classifieds

Frequent Questions

What important documents do I need to bring with me when moving to Germany? 

How do I access my existing funds and TeachBeyond payroll deposits once I arrive in Germany?